God is into calendar!
“Remember” is a thread that runs from Genesis to Revelation. From the time God put the rainbow in the sky and told Noah, “I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant” (Gen. 9:16), to the last book of Scripture in which Jesus told the church in Sardis to “Remember…what you have received and heard; hold it fast and repent” (Rev. 3:3), God is into remembering, and encourages us to do the same.
Shavu’ot/Pentecost is the annual remembrance of the giving of the Law on Sinai and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Shavu’ot (Pentecost) following the resurrection of Jesus.
The Biblical calendar date for Shavuot falls this year on June 4. On the Christian calendar, Pentecost is Sunday, June 8. Let’s pray that we will all experience a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit – a deluge of His heart into ours!
James had been beheaded.
Peter was next on Herod’s list.
Herod “proceeded to seize Peter also” (Acts 12:3).
“the church was earnestly praying to God for him” (v. 5).
So what happened?
Even though he was “sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance…
Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell.
He struck Peter on the side and woke him up.
“Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrist…
‘Put on your clothes and sandals.
Wrap your cloak around you and follow me…”
They passed by two guards.
An iron gate opened for them.
Peter was so shocked by the whole experience that he had to “come to himself” when he found himself out on the street (v. 11).
And when Peter knocked on the door of Mary’s house and Rhonda came to the gate, she was so shocked that she did not even open the gate.
“Peter is at the door!” She exclaimed.
“You’re out of your mind,” they told her.
Some faith this praying church had!!
But it seems to have been enough to get the job done!
So keep praying!
Even with almost no faith!!
You never know what your prayers may work!
A few weeks back I listened to Brother Yun, the Chinese evangelist whose story is told in “The Heavenly Man” book. His mother had become a believer through Westerners in China before the rise of communism in 1949, but when the missionaries were expelled, churches destroyed, and pastors imprisoned, her faith became dormant and even forgotten. She married and had six children, but in their great poverty, Brother Yun’s 15 year old brother starved to death, his dad was dying of cancer, and his mother was about to commit suicide, when she heard the voice of Jesus, “Don’t give up! Call on Jesus!”
She woke up her five children, told them to kneel around their father’s bed and to call on Jesus to heal him. They had no idea who Jesus was – had never heard His name, but they obediently did as they were told. Within the week, the father was healed, the mother began to tell all her friends who also began to follow Jesus, and she, though illiterate and never having even seen a Bible, began to pastor one of the early house churches. She taught only what she remembered from the missionaries and what God personally would impart to her. For weeks they began to pray for a Bible. Brother Yun promised God that he would memorize the Bible and that he would spend his life telling about Jesus if he only had a Bible.
Today one million Chinese a month are coming to Jesus and it is estimated that there are as many as 160 million believers in this nation of a billion and half souls. They are now sending missionaries – workers, businessmen and women – to all the nations between China and Jerusalem in a movement called “Back to Jerusalem.” This movement has produced tiny audio Bibles that are being sent into North Korea and into Iran.
Incredible! Praise God!
What about those blood moons?
(with a correction regarding the meaning of a lunar eclipse)
Monday evening, April 14, 2014, is the beginning of Passover, this year, the 14th of Nisan on the biblical calendar, and the first of four consecutive blood moons on biblical feast days.
A “blood moon” occurs when there is a total lunar eclipse – the earth is positioned between the sun and the moon, the sun’s rays shine around the earth on to the moon, often turning the moon into a red hue. A total lunar eclipse can only occur with a full moon.
The potential importance of blood moons finds its origin in Genesis 1:14, God said that he had put the sun and moon in the sky “as signs to mark seasons and days and years. Later Joel prophesied and Peter affirmed, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joel 2:30-31 & Acts 2:20). Four blood moons (lunar eclipses) and two solar eclipses will take place during this year and next – all on significant biblical holidays.
On the 14th of Nisan this year (Passover, April 15 – biblical days always beginning the night before) the first blood moon will occur, the second on the 15th of Tishri (Tabernacles, October 9, 2014) of this year. Next year will bring precisely the same occurrence. A blood moon will take place on Passover, Nisan 14 (April 4, 2015) and again on the first day of Tabernacles (Tishri 15, September 28, 2015).
The last time four blood moons occurred on these feast days in two consecutive years was in 1967/1968 during the time of the Six Day War when Israel took possession of Jerusalem for the first time in many centuries.
The prior occurrence of four blood moons in consecutive years on these two feast days was in 1948/49 during the time of Israel’s War of Independence.
Before that time, we have to go back in history to 1493, the season of the Inquisition when the King and Queen of Spain were confiscating Jewish wealth, exiling or murdering Jewish people.
In the midst of these four total lunar eclipses are two solar eclipses to take place on the first day of the biblical calendar, Nisan 1 (March 21, 2015) next year, and on the first day of the civic year, Tishri 1 (September 13, 2015) next year.
Nisan 14, April 15, 2014 – Passover – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
Tishri 15, October 9, 2014 – Tabernacles – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
Nisan 1 – March 21, 2015 – beginning of the year – solar eclipse
Nisan 14, April 4, 2015 – Passover – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
Tishri 1 – September 13, 2015 – Feast of Trumpets – solar eclipse
Tishri 15 – September 28, 2015 – Tabernacles – “blood moon” lunar eclipse
(Remember biblical days begin the evening before)
What does all this mean? Is this God’s proclamation that something extraordinary is going to occur during or just prior to the multiplicity of eclipses? It would seem so, since that is what has happened in the past. Does this mean war in Israel and the Middle East? If so, will the outcome be good, as in the 1948 and 1967 conflicts? Or is greater hardship indicated as in 1493? We cannot know.
Some suggest this could mean the rapture of the church prior to the great tribulation, but I find no biblical proof that we escape tribulation, and Paul tells us that the antichrist will precede Jesus’ return? Do we escape the wrath of God? Yes (See Romans 5:9), but we are continually warned to prepare for hard times, (See, for example, John 16:33 and Acts 14:22, both of which use the Greek word sometimes translated “tribulation”).
So what are we to do? Keep walking strong, pray for victory for all of God’s people, and that millions will come into the kingdom both from Israel and the Jewish people, as well as the nations. Surrender to Jesus! Listen to and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit! Worship! Share the good news! Be prepared to stand strong whatever may come. We have the assurance that in the end all is well.
Life Verse #11: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2)
The “law of the Spirit of life” vs. the “law of sin and death. I am no longer under the “law of sin and death,” yet I must appropriate for myself (and encourage you to do the same) the “law of the Spirit of life.”
Let me illustrate how that works. Most, if not all of us, had habits and life patterns that were ungodly before we came to Jesus. We were under the “law of sin and death.” Sin separated us from God and always leads to death, sometimes literally to physical death, but always to eternal death. Death is separation from God; eternal “death” is eternal separation from God and all that is good.
When we came to Jesus we entered into the “law of the Spirit of life,” no longer under the “law of sin and death.” Sin is forgiven in and through Jesus. But if we are unaware of the fullness of what that means, here is what may happen.
Your hardest pattern to overcome is an entrenched habit or addiction. Let’s presume it’s alcohol or some kind of drug. After coming to Jesus you stay sober for several days, but then you slip and go back into the habit. When you awaken to what you have done, you have a choice, a choice that the enemy wants to hide from you.
If you move back under sin and death, you begin to hate yourself for what you have done. You are ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed, and devastated. What can you do? Maybe you are “just this way.” Maybe you never will get delivered. What to do? Go back and get high or drunk or flip out again to drown your grief.
There is another choice. You can kick back into the “law of the Spirit of life.” Your sins are forgiven. You have been the righteousness of Jesus. You did not nor will you ever deserve it. He still loves you and does not even count the sin (check that out with Romans 4:7-8).
What do do? Erupt in praise and worship and thanksgiving and awe that He still counts you righteous because you have been given a righteousness that is not your own. Give testimony! Exult in His goodness!
And so what happens? You stay “sober” for a much longer period of time, because you are so full of joy!
BUT you still have that crazy nagging desire, and you slip again… and again… and again…
It is key that we learn to grab hold again of the “law of the Spirit of life,” and do not allow the enemy to push us into guilt and despair for unnecessary days and weeks and months.
Repentance? Yes. Talk to Him. Look Him in the eye. He is the One Who wrote those words (through His good friend Paul).
How can I know this works?
Because I’ve working the plan for a number of decades, and I’m staying “sober” a much longer time these days!
Have a good life! In Jesus!
Life Verse #10: “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” [Romans 8:6].
I have these dialogues with the Lord – I hope you do – often when I am reading Scripture.
One day I was reading this verse from Romans, and the Lord called me to pause and ponder – mind controlled by the Spirit.
As I pondered, the Lord seemed to say, “You are trying to live in the spirit controlled by the mind. It’s the other way around. Yes, use your mind to its fullest, but I am not asking you to be controlled by your mind, nor your emotions, but by my Spirit. My spirit in you, when controlled by your mind, will not bring life, but your mind, when controlled by my Spirit that lives within you, will produce life and peace.”